Jordan Valley: accompanying Palestinian shepherds
Rashash, on the Alon Road, overlooking the Jordan Valley, in Area C.
Accompanying Palestinian shepherds to enable them to graze their sheep past an illegal outpost next to an army base on the hill. These are lands where the Palestinians have grazed their sheep for 50 years, even though officially it is a firing zone. The army would tell them to keep away when there would be a real exercise, but otherwise they were left alone. Only after an illegal outpost, with the deceptive name "Angels of Peace" was established two and a half years ago, right in the middle of that firing zone and next to the army camp, and threatening the Palestinian shepherds, were the firing zone limitations enforced.
Today, again the hilltop settlers showed up, on horseback and in an all-terrain vehicle as well as with their own flock of sheep. The Palestinian shepherds were able to continue past that point of friction. Then the army showed - telling us it is a firing zone and we have to move out - and that the settlers will have to do the same. By this time, the Palestinian shepherds had already moved on - but we stayed to watch how the settlers just stayed on the mountaintop, without moving.
The army officer came back to tell us to stop "playing the game of who will leave first" - we were not convinced the settlers would actually leave. Later the officer returned accompanied by a female police officer, both were quite civil, trying to be friendly. The elder shepherd with us kept his ground - we have been here for 50 years, he told the officers. Eventually, everyone moved out of the firing zone. But we are sure the settlers roam freely when we are not there.
How long can this go on???
It is an all too familiar situation to rid Area C of all Palestinians.... allowing the settler youth to do the dirty